In cats, an intestinal infection can occur for several reasons. These include bacterial infections, viral infections, and various diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal parasites. No matter what the cause, an intestinal infection must be treated promptly to prevent further health issues from arising, as some symptoms may indicate more serious health issues looming, including premature death for the affected cat.
According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, some infections, such as a parasitic infection with whipworms--which reside in a cat’s large intestine--do not cause any noticeable symptoms in the affected cat.
Diarrhea can occur because of parasitic, viral, or bacterial infections of the intestinal tract in a cat. In some cases, diarrhea can be mild and only last for a day, whereas other cases may require hospitalization because of severe, continual diarrhea or the presence of blood in the diarrhea.
A few days of continual diarrhea can result in dehydration in the affected cat. Dehydration requires hospitalization, as it can result in death if left untreated.
Severe parasitic infections can result in massive blood loss for the affected cat, which in turn can result in anemia. Anemia, a condition in which blood cell numbers are reduced, may be noted during blood testing at the veterinarian's office. However, some symptoms of anemia that the owner may notice include pale gums, lethargy, or listlessness.
According to PetMD, certain viral infections of the intestines can result in gum inflammation, or gingivitis.
In some cases, parasitic, viral, or bacterial infections can provoke a disease known as inflammatory bowel disease. When this occurs, the affected cat may experience vomiting. Vomiting can be mild to severe and requires veterinary attention.
According to the veterinarians at the Pet Place website, some cats may have skin lesions after infection by an intestinal parasite.
PetMD states that a reovirus of the intestines can result in conjunctivitis, or pinkeye.
Changes in Motor Skills or Muscular Movements
Pet MD adds that loss of balance, muscle movements, and ataxia can also result during a viral infection of the intestines.
Left untreated, certain infections can result in death. This can occur because of large numbers of a specific parasite or because of severe untreated dehydration.